Admissions Officer Insight: Get to Know Swarthmore College

As Senior Assistant Dean of Admissions at Swarthmore College, Andrew Moe has great insight into the academics and campus life of  the small liberal arts college located in southeastern Pennsylvania. Get to know Swarthmore and see if it’s a good fit for you!

Andrew Moe, Swarthmore College, Senior Assistant Dean of Admissions

Swarthmore College, a small liberal arts college in southeastern Pennsylvania, is a bit different than most places.  The following list represents just a few of our favorite things about Swat:

Small size, plentiful options.  We enroll just over 1,500 students, and nearly everyone lives on campus all four years.  Almost 40% of our classes have nine or fewer students, and yet, our students choose from over 600 courses offered each year.  Additionally, we are part of the Tri-College Consortium, where you can take classes and engage in social activities at Haverford College and Bryn Mawr College – just a free shuttle ride away.  And if that’s not enough, you can even register to take courses at the University of Pennsylvania.

Learning comes first.  Are you exhausted from trying to achieve good grades in your high school classes?  At Swarthmore, we’ll give you a little break.  Your first semester at the College, all of your courses will be pass/fail.  This means you can take some risks.  Interested in taking a West African dance class? How about biodiversity and ecosystem functioning?  Anthropology of Capitalism?  We want you to explore broadly and dive deeply.  Oh, and we don’t have GPAs, class rank, or a Dean’s list at Swat.

An idyllic home in the backyard of one of America’s greatest cities.  Students get to experience a living museum – our campus is a nationally-recognized Arboretum, filled with hiking and walking trails, a creek, an outdoor amphitheater, and 200 acres of woods.  And yet, Philadelphia is just a 25-minute train ride away, so you’ll have access to world-class public art, professional sports, and diverse eateries.

A commitment to civic and social responsibility is embedded in the fabric of the College.  Founded by the Society of Friends (Quakers), we’ve always believed in a purpose beyond simply teaching and learning.  That’s why we provide grants for service and advocacy projects, offer nearly 50 community-based learning courses, bring outstanding social scientists, political leaders and social activists to campus as Lang Visiting Professors, and support students engaged in social action-oriented internships over the summer.

Access and diversity take center stage at Swarthmore.  To us, the definition of “diversity” goes well beyond just numbers and percentages that you may hear from other colleges.  Perhaps your roommate will be a queer person of color from rural Pennsylvania, or a Native American student from Oklahoma who wants to talk with you about her unique culture, language, and identity.  We are committed to truly holistic review, need-blind, and loan-free policies for U.S. citizens, permanent residents and undocumented students, and choosing the very best class to contribute to the intellectual vibrancy of the Swarthmore classroom, regardless of background or socioeconomic status.

We hope you’re intrigued – the above list represents just a fraction of what makes Swarthmore a very special place.  To find out more information, please visit us online or reach out to your regional director.

– Andrew Moe, Senior Assistant Dean of Admissions, Swarthmore College